Santa Clarita and Northern Los Angeles County Area
Butterfly and Moth Site

Granite Mountains, April 4, 2007

On Friday, 4/4/2008, I visted the Granite Mountains, NE of Apple Valley, CA in search of P.indra fordi adults and earlies (plus whatever else might be flying). The weather was warm (70's) with some hazy high cloudy sunshine and a light breeze when I arrived at 10am. There was plenty of greenery - the deserts having been watered fairly well this year - with numerous nectar sources present.

I parked and headed up into the hills, watching for larvae on any likely host plants. I found Painted Lady larvae to be abundant on the yellow-flowered fiddle-neck plants. Two species of whites were flying, P. sisymbrii and P. protodice (spring form "vernalis"?). No A. cethura at all. Probably too late for them. Painted ladies flying by were a constant distraction, as were the occasional Sphinx Moths buzzing about (they were probably White-Lined Sphinx but I never managed to net one).

See the short YouTube video documentary here:

These photos show just how rough and unfriendly the terrain in this area is - large, sharp boulders, steep rock faces, and tough, spiny plantlife. This is also ideal terrain for Rattlenakes, although I didn't see any this day...

On the way up the hill I thought I spotted a fordi adult fly by, but far too quickly to net or get a positive ID on it. By 11am I began to encounter Cymopterus panamintensis plants. The plants looked large, fresh and robust, with profuse, ripe seed heads. There was no sign of any mass cutting/harvesting that has been seen there in the past.

After carefully combing the plant a bit I started finding a few eggs and early stages... Ova, varying from fresh creamy-white to orange-ringed to dark and nearly developed. 1st and 2nd instar larvae were found sparingly on many plants, indicating to me that adults have been flying here for at least a couple of weeks.

During the following few hours of exploring terrain and plants I glimpsed at least two more (likey to be) fordi adults flying nearby, again far too quickly to net or see well. By 12pm, the winds had picked up dramatically, gusting from 20-40 miles-per-hour, and I had no more adult sightings.

In spite of not catching any adults, it was still a great trip - nearly 7 hours of exploring these desert mountains, collecting a few early stages, and video documenting the adventure!

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